Pre-Physician Assistant

Acceptance Criteria

Students enrolled in the pre-physician assistant program come from a wide range of backgrounds. The certificate program is designed for students who have a bachelor's degree but have not completed or have never taken the courses generally required for admission to these schools. As such, our program is designed to meet the needs of career changers and is not intended as an academic record-enhancement program.

Application Checklist

The following materials are required to apply:

  • A completed online application
  • A $50 application fee (non-refundable)
  • Official transcripts from ALL previously attended college-level institutions
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Current resume or CV

Supplemental materials, with the exception of transcripts, must be uploaded to the online application. Official transcripts may be sent to our Admissions office at spsadmissions@northwestern.edu or mailed to our Chicago office. Please be sure to include the name of your intended program when addressing transcripts.

Professional Health Admissions
Northwestern University School of Professional Studies
Wieboldt Hall, 6th floor
339 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611-3008
Phone: 312-503-2579
Fax: 312-503-4942
Email: spsadmissions@northwestern.edu

Application Deadlines


Summer Quarter: March 1
Fall Quarter: June 1


Due to the sequential format of the science courses, students may only start the pre-physician assistant concentration in the summer or fall quarters. Applications are reviewed by the admissions committee once all application materials are received and applicants will be notified of their status approximately three to four weeks later.

Preparatory Coursework

A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university is required for admission to the pre-physician assistant concentration. Additionally, applicants are required to show proof of proficiency in college algebra or a higher-level math course (excluding statistics) within the past seven years. Students may meet the proficiency requirement through one of the following ways:

  • Completion of a college algebra (or higher) level math course with a grade of B or better within the past seven years
  • AP calculus credit appearing on the student's official college transcript within the past seven years
  • GRE quantitative scores of 680 (old test) or 153 (new test) within the past seven years
  • College Algebra CLEP exam credit with an ACE score of 63 or better within the past seven years

For applicants who have not completed the prerequisite may take college algebra (MATH 101) at SPS as a student-at-large.

Admission decisions will not be released until the admissions office receives proof of successful completion of both a bachelor's degree and college algebra proficiency.

International Applicants

SPS welcomes international students to apply to our professional health programs. SPS does not process I-20 or DS-2019 forms for full-time student or exchange visas. Our programs are designed as part-time programs for working professionals and cannot be used to maintain legal status in the United States. Please reach out to the International Office with any questions.

International Transcripts

Applicants with international transcripts must request an official course-by-course evaluation of those transcripts from a NACES member. A course-by-course evaluation will translate courses, degrees and grades to U.S. equivalencies. The evaluations must be prepared for Northwestern University School of Professional Studies and must arrive in our office in a sealed envelope issued by the evaluator.

English Proficiency

All applicants to SPS programs whose first language is not English must demonstrate language proficiency in one of the following three ways:

  • Provide official scores for either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. The test must be taken no more than two years before the intended quarter of entry. For the TOEFL, applicants must score 600 or higher on the paper-based test or 100 or higher on the internet based test. SPS's institutional code for the TOEFL is 9019. For the IELTS exam, applicants must receive a score of 7.0 or higher.
  • Provide official transcripts verifying an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution or equivalent, where the language of instruction is English.
  • Provide official transcripts verifying a graduate degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English.

Please contact the admissions office for more information on TOEFL, IELTS, and transcripts for international applicants.